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While online shopping continues to boom, another retailing trend is taking off: bricks and mortar stores are being reinvented. Internationally, online brands are opening physical shops, while traditional retailers are transforming their in-store experience.
“Retailers must understand the new role of physical channels in an all-channel commerce environment, and adjust store sizes, layouts, fixture arrangement and ‘entertainment’ factors accordingly,” says Scott Welty, Global VP of Retail Industry Strategy for JDA in the US.
In New Zealand, 3 Wise Men is at the forefront of this new, all-channel world. Currently in the process of a major website redesign, they’re paying equal attention to their stores.
Their freshly redeveloped Newmarket store is a Spatial Design finalist in the 2013 Best Awards, and has seen a 30%+ increase in sales. They’ve just put the finishing touches to a complete refurbishment of their Wellington shop, which is tucked off Lambton Quay on Panama Street.
“Following ten solid years of retailing, it was time to get ready for our next decade and do something really innovative,” explains 3 Wise Men Managing Director Richard Miles. “The Wellington space has a tiny footprint – just 60sqm – which made it challenging to develop a different and engaging experience for our customers.”
David Sweatman, of commercial design specialists Space Studio, blacked out the space to create a simple form over which to lay the new elements. “These comprised two parts: a towering curved ladder of dowels, and a black pinstriped timber “shed” that contains the workings of the store and wears the accessories that complement the 3 Wise Men shirts. Bespoke folded steel shelves climb the ladder wall, displaying the huge variety of pattern and colour in the 3 Wise Men range.”
Miles is delighted with the results, saying the new-look store is warm and dynamic, masculine and confident, while the layout is easy and enjoyable to shop in.
“The trick is not to take the “if you build, they will come” approach. Significant investment has gone into attracting the right staff, and ensuring we not only delight with great product but that the in-store experience is bloody fantastic.”
He firmly believes that store expansion is not a race, and that there are too many retailers who still think that more stores mean more profit. “Our approach is having stores in the right locations filled with the right stock. We’re constantly looking for opportunities to improve our offering and grow new categories or markets.”
Miles says the business has a habit of doing things in threes, with shoes, suits and shirts the key product focus for the next 12 months.